BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
There’s no better way to cool down in 90-degree weather than at the beach—and although New York City is home to a few beaches, residents of Queens long await the annual opening of Rockaway Beach for the season.
But swimming isn’t the only attraction at Rockaway Beach; visitors can walk along the 5.5-mile boardwalk that was rebuilt after having been damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
On Saturday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders took a tour along the boardwalk, which stretches from Beach 9th Street to Beach 126th Street, to ensure that it’s ready to open to the public for the holiday weekend.
“The full Rockaway Boardwalk will be open Memorial Day weekend and will also serve as a protective barrier for the entire community,” de Blasio tweeted. “I was in the Rockaways in the days after Hurricane Sandy—I believed then that we had an obligation to rebuild the right way.”
The new concrete boardwalk was constructed with materials that are more resilient to harsh weather. If a storm with the force of Hurricane Sandy were to hit, the sunken steel pilings coated in epoxy—which are anchored to thick concrete pads—would ensure that the boardwalk would be sustained.
Now that the beach is officially ready for its Memorial Day Weekend opening, Queens residents, denizens from across the five boroughs and tourists can anticipate a summer of fun at Rockaway Beach, which was ranked in 2015 as the best beach in New York City.
The Rockaway Beach Civic Association (RBCA) provides several free activities for all families. John Cori, the association’s chairman, said that there will be summer paint-out activities for children, which provide youngsters with cut-outs of whales, fish and seagulls that they can paint along the boardwalk.
On Aug. 5 at Beach 94 Street, Rockaway Beach’s Live and Local event will provide a venue for local artists, musicians and vintage dealers. And the neighborhood’s annual Out Rockaway 5K run and walk will be held on Sept. 30.
Another top summer event is the beach’s Poseidon Parade, a family-friendly version of New York City’s annual Mermaid Parade.
This year’s march will be held on Sept. 16 and starts at the Beach 94th Street boardwalk plaza.
“We provide a lot of cool stuff,” Cori said of the event.
The RBCA’s Beach Flix allows families to watch films on the sand. Participants are encouraged to bring their own chairs, blankets and food to watch the shows. The association has not yet released this year’s schedule of movies.
This year, it will be easier for beachgoers to travel to Rockaway Beach following the launch of the new Rockaway ferries. The Rockaway route runs from Beach 108th Street to Brooklyn Army Terminal, and then on to Pier 11 at Wall Street.
“This is going to be the summer of the Rockaways,” de Blasio said. “The millions who come to the boardwalk by bus, bike and ferry will see the Rockaways’ resilience and vibrancy in action. The boardwalk is proof of our commitment to building back stronger and better.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org